Effective in 2019, games played under Baseball Ontario rules shall permit the defensive manager to intentionally walk a batter without being required to pitch to the batter.
A no-pitch intentional walk may occur at any point during an at-bat. Upon a signal from the defensive manager, the plate umpire shall call ‘time’ and award the batter first base. Only pitches thrown by the pitcher shall count towards the pitch count. Pitchers are still permitted to intentionally walk a batter the conventional way.
Some additional guidelines regarding the no-pitch intentional walk:
- Signalling a no-pitch intentional walk is considered a pitch/play, for the purpose of removing a team’s ability to appeal a missed base, a runner’s failure to tag-up following a batted ball caught in flight, a half-swing attempt by the previous batter, appeal the previous batter batted out of order, correct an incorrect ball/strike count, or protest an umpire’s interpretation of the rules on the previous play.
- Play 1: Bases loaded, 0 out. The tying run is at second base. The batter hits a deep sacrifice fly, allowing all runners to advance, but R3 has left early. After play is complete, the defensive manager signals to the plate umpire they wish to intentionally walk the next batter. Meanwhile, the third baseman calls for the ball to appeal R3 left early. The ball is thrown to 3B and the defensive team appeals.
- Ruling 1: The appeal is denied and R3’s run counts. The appeal occurred after the defensive team signaled for a no-pitch intentional walk.
- For Plays 2 and 3, the batting order is Able, Baker, Charles, Daniel. Able is the proper batter
- Play 2: Baker bats in place of Able. Baker triples. Charles comes to bat. The defensive manager signals to intentionally walk Charles, then realizes the offensive team has batted out of order.
- Ruling 2: Signaling to walk Charles has legalized Baker in the batting order. Baker’s triple shall stand.
- Play 3: Baker comes to bat in place of Able. Realizing the offensive team is batting out of order, the defensive team signals to the plate umpire to intentionally walk Baker. As Baker reaches 1B (and before a pitch is thrown to Charles or a pick-off play is attempted), the defensive manager appeals the batting out of order to the plate umpire.
- Ruling 3: Able (proper batter) is called out. Baker is removed from 1B and comes to bat as the proper batter. In this case, the defense may use the no-pitch intentional walk to put an improper batter on base, for the purpose of having them called out on appeal.
- A no-pitch intentional satisfies a pitcher’s requirement to face one batter before being eligible to be removed from the game.
- Play 1: Bottom of the 9th. The offensive team pinch-hits a left-handed batter. The defensive manager brings in a left-handed pitcher. The offensive manager again pinch-hits, this time bringing in a right-handed hitter. Another right-handed batter is scheduled to bat on-deck. The defensive manager approaches the plate umpire and says they wish to intentionally walk the current batter and then make a pitching change, if permitted.
- Ruling 1: The defensive manager may substitute the pitcher upon a no-pitch intentional walk of the current batter.
If there are any further questions regarding this matter, please do not hesitate to reach out.